event photo flippedLet’s face it: Meeting planning is hard work. Add to that, delivering a “wow” experience to attendees while remaining within budget can make your job even more challenging. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what attendees wanted ahead of time and moved toward those trends?

The good news is, Bizzabo, Statista and Endless Events have done all the heavy lifting for you. Here are the 2018 movements gathered from coordinators around the country.


Top Eight Stats for 2018

91 percent want to increase event engagement.

How do you do that? Take the lens off the speakers and sponsors, and put it squarely on your attendees. Find out what they want, who they want to speak and how they want their networking sessions structured. For other ideas about making your conference engaging, please read our April blog post.

88 percent are going to use virtual reality (VR) this year.

VR, augmented reality and mixed reality are expected to explode as more applications are developed for these platforms. Not sure how it will work for you? Try our VR arena when on your next site visit or make arrangements through our sales department.


80 percent of planners agree live events are critical to their company’s success.

Without a doubt, face-to-face meetings yield a positive ROI. They help attendees negotiate better agreements, allow time for networking and explore new business opportunities.


77 percent use experiential marketing.

What is this? A strategy that engages an audience with a brand and what it makes or represents. It’s participatory, hands-on or tangible in nature. Following are examples of each.

Participatory: Allow attendees to participate in each session. From extended Q&A to brainstorming sessions, the audience members engage in conversation with speakers, sponsors and each other.

Hands-on: Much like test-driving a car, this lets them try out a product or build something useful. This is why team-building activities, CSR functions (e.g., wrapping toys, building bikes) and hackathons are so popular.

Tangible: Each attendee should walk away with something. It can be the Legos they created during a team-building session, a jump drive with the PowerPoint presentation or a swag bag from the convention.

Need more ammo for experiential marketing? According to EventTrack, 98 percent of users say they are more likely to purchase a product or service once they have experienced it.


70 percent need to validate the worth of event sponsorships.

Organizations want to translate the dollars they spent on sponsorships into leads generated and sales won. In order to provide this type of ROI, I suggest you poll them at least four times after your event to determine the number of leads they gained, proposals they sent and sales obtained.

It’s important to understand their expectation levels. For example, if you received a $2,500 sponsorship and they garnered $3,000 in sales from the event, do they consider that a good ROI? If not, why not?


58 percent will be taking advantage of livestreaming.

Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram are great tools for attendees to livestream from their seats, especially to reach potential attendees. At last year’s Dreamforce, attendees livestreamed each session. They reached over 1.2 million users – 75 times more than live attendance.


56 percent of planners are impacted by shrinking budgets.

Even though the economy is booming, finances for events have remained relatively flat, which leaves most planners with three options:

  1. Increase all fees (i.e., registration, sponsorship and exhibitor)
  2. Decrease expenses (i.e., cut budget items by 10 percent, cut out expenses, reduce attendance) or a
  3. Combination of 1 and 2 above.

Determine your budget early and work on creative ways to keep it on track.


50 percent say the primary reason for attending events is lead generation.

If this is the case for your association or membership-based meeting, brainstorm about ways of putting vendors and their target customers together. If a trade show is part of your event, create a card or app that allows attendees to check in exhibitors. Even without a trade show, create seating charts where tables are balanced with suppliers and their potential customers.


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Is Here to Help

At Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, we will provide you with the space, staff and services to make everything on your list come true. From event engagement to lead generation, our experienced group sales professionals can assist you along the way. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our latest updates!